Everybody knows that NFL training camp can get a little heated. All of the ego, talent and conflicting personalities are forced to live together and gel as a team, while sweltering in the summer sun. It’s when bonds are formed, but like anytime you put that much testosterone in one place, there are moments when tempers will flare and confrontations will turn physical. Some would call it the nature of the beast, and there’s no one who has been through it that won’t tell you that it’s a fairly regular occurrence. Most of the time these little scuffles occur amongst the linemen on either side of the ball, or between receivers and DBs, but this week we have seen a couple of quarterbacks get in on the action, causing fans and coaches to hold their collective breath.
Yesterday we got to see Cam Newton and cornerback Josh Norman get into an altercation in which the much larger Newton manhandled the DB. Apparently Newton threw an interception to Norman, who then laid a nice stiff arm on the QB during his return down the sideline. Newton took issue with the stiff arm (and probably the interception), even though he had been pursuing the defender. I know the red jersey means hands off but can you really fault Norman for trying to complete the interception return unimpeded?
The way I look at it, Josh Norman should consider himself lucky to still be on the team, because he is already on the bubble of the roster to begin with. I don’t blame him for the fight, and I think that Cam should remember that he is supposed to be a leader on this team and rise above this kind of stuff. Still, Norman should be thankful to have a job (for now) because Cam Newton is the future of this franchise, and he is definitely not. I’m not saying Josh Norman will stick with the team, but for now it seems like this thing has blown over. Either way, hands off the million dollar smile!
Today is a different story entirely. Fans in New York got to start their Tuesday with news that their best hope at quarterback, Geno Smith, had his jaw broken after he was punched in the face by linebacker IK Enemkpali. This is a huge blow to a team with a rookie head coach, who was hoping that Smith would take a big step forward this year. It is estimated that he will miss 6-10 weeks and will require surgery to fix the damage he incurred after reportedly sticking his finger in the face of Enemkpali during a locker room argument.
Word is Geno Smith put his finger in the face of IK Enemkpali’s during and argument that wasn’t getting difused. Then came the punch
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 11, 2015
Sadly, unlike the Newton incident that happened out on the practice field in front of the eyes and cameras of fans and media, the Smith incident occurred in the locker room. All we know for sure is that Geno Smith will not be throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall for a couple of months and IK Enemkpali has already been released by the team. That’s just what happens when you crush the hopes of a team before the season even starts. Some of the Twitter reactions have been priceless.
In college IK Enemkpali was convicted of battery on a police officer. Jets drafted him anyway, but cut him for battery on a quarterback. — Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 11, 2015
BREAKING: Bears reach out to Jets player that punched out Geno Smith to check availability on meeting with Jay Cutler
— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) August 11, 2015
The issue here isn’t training camps fights; those are always going to happen. What really needs to be looked at is the leadership of these two young QBs. They are the most important players on their respective teams and for them to put the success of the team and their own careers at risk like this is just stupid. As far as the defenders who were dumb enough to put hands on them, they need to worry about their careers too, because a Cam Newton and Geno Smith are a lot more likely to stick around than a Josh Norman and IK Enemkpali. One of them still has a job and the other is now looking for one, but you can be damn sure that if something like that happens again, neither of them will ever see another down of NFL football.
And that’s why you DON’T PUNCH YOUR QUARTERBACK!